Growing up, I only knew strawberry shortcake as something made with a sponge-cake (usually the store-bought little cakes they sell next to the berries) that invariably became a soggy mess, usually before the first bite.
I always asked for just the berries and whipped cream, please.
Then my husband and I were invited to some friends house shortly after we were married. My heart sank (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating…) when my friend said she was serving strawberry shortcake – I didn’t know her well enough to ask for no cake – and I resigned myself to the soggy cake.
Except, she started making biscuits for the shortcake! And not regular biscuits, but drop biscuits (a very important distinction, you’ll see). This was a revelation to me, although she looked at me like I was very weird, and said something like, “it’s just a biscuit.”
Anyway, I ate every last bit of the shortcake. It was warm and every bite was crunchy with the strawberry and whipped cream. Yum. I was in love with strawberry shortcake.
In order to have the most nooks and crannies to get all crisp and crunchy, you need to make drop biscuits. Isn’t it nice that the super-easy one is the one you’re supposed to make? It’s literally a 5-10 minute job to get them ready for the oven. In fact, I usually do it while I’m making dinner, so that they will be nice and warm for dessert.
I just use a basic biscuit recipe (this one from the big Fanny Farmer Cookbook), that has an adaptation at the bottom for drop biscuits. You just need to add more liquid for drop ones.
I never use Bisquick, etc. I just don’t understand this product, I mean- biscuits are one of the easiest things to make (this was one of the things they made on the Oregon Trail!), needing just flour, butter, baking powder, salt, and milk. I need a product to premix the flour, salt and baking powder? Or worse yet, to have shortening added (give me butter any day!) And then, of course, all the other things that come with a packaged food…
I like to have room temperature strawberries. They seem to be more flavorful. So I cut them and lightly sugar (I added 2 tablespoons to this 4 cups of berries) them and let them sit on the counter until I serve the shortcake.
Then of course you have to whip the cream. I always whip it in my Kitchenaid mixer. I love my Kitchenaid and I’ve never had a problem with cream not whipping for me when I use it. And I get to do other things while it’s working. Bonus!
I use about a 1/4 cup sugar (I just use regular, never had a problem with it, but I know some like to use powdered) to a cup of cream, which lightly sweetens the cream.
Replace the top of the biscuit and add a dollop of whipped cream. Mmm…heaven.
If you’ve only had sponge-cake shortcakes, try this, please and see if you don’t fall in love with Strawberry Shortcake, too.
Unless, of course, you’re already in love with the sponge-cake shortcakes, which is OK. Really.
We need all kinds to make the world go ’round.